WWW2009 EPrints

Highly Scalable Web Applications with Zero-Copy Data Transfer

This item is a Paper in the Web Engineering track.


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The performance of server-side applications is becoming increasingly important as more applications exploit the Web application model. Extensive work has been done to improve the performance of individual software components such as Web servers and programming language runtimes. This paper describes a novel approach to boost Web application performance by improving inter-process communication between a programming language runtime and Web server runtime. The approach reduces redundant processing for memory copying and the context switch overhead between user space and kernel space by exploiting the zero-copy data transfer methodology, such as the sendfile system call. In order to transparently utilize this optimization feature with existing Web applications, we propose enhancements of the PHP runtime, FastCGI protocol, and Web server. Our proposed approach achieves a 126% performance improvement with microbenchmarks and a 44% performance improvement for a standard Web benchmark, SPECweb2005.

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We (Southampton EPrints Project) intend to preserve the files and HTML pages of this site for many years, however we will turn it into flat files for long term preservation. This means that at some point in the months after the conference the search, metadata-export, JSON interface, OAI etc. will be disabled as we "fossilize" the site. Please plan accordingly. Feel free to ask nicely for us to keep the dynamic site online longer if there's a rally good (or cool) use for it... [this has now happened, this site is now static]